A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

A bowl of mixed thoughts

Posted by Pepper on July 18, 2012

One of those days when I really want to write a post, but I have no clue what to write about. So let me split my thoughts and write about, er, all that is going on in my mind.

– This weekend, my parents were in Nasik. (Or is it Nashik?) Which meant, the sister and I had the house all to ourselves. The girl pals came over for a slumber party. We had some serious fun. The highlight was driving out at 2:30 am to eat! Yes, we found road side stalls that sold Biryani and Pav Bhaji and Egg Burji at that hour. We settled for spicy egg burji with buttered pav that was toasted to perfection. What a delicious meal! Bombay never lets me down.

– We did some crazy things. One of them was going for the movie ‘Cocktail’. I came back with a splitting headache. I usually don’t voice my opinions where movies are concerned, but this time, I had to. The movie is sexist to the core. I have no tolerance for such themes. And oh, what irked me the most, the bad girl with a ‘loose character’ was called Veronica. Whereas the good girl with traditional Indian values was Meera. How typical! Have you noticed, how filmmakers always use Christian names for characters that are ‘fast’ with poor morals? Most of them are shown wearing tiny skirts and are called ‘Julie’, ‘Monica’, ‘Susie’, etc. I hate the message it conveys.

– Talking about sexist ways of life, I’ve been experiencing the biases from the other side of the fence. It so happened that I was driving back home late at night. I had to cross checkpoints where the police were conducting alcohol breath analyzer tests on all the drivers. The moment I reached the checkpoint, the cop took one look at me and let me go without conducting the test on me. I ignored it the first time. The second time, it happened again. I was let off without having to undergo the test whereas all the other drivers (male) were made to go through it. Why? The police believe women don’t drink and drive? How easily can this thought process be exploited?

– My mom and I were talking to somebody the other day. He told us he reached the destination in good time despite the traffic because he came on a two wheeler. My mom asked him, ‘But during the rains, isn’t it hard to move about on your scooter? Don’t you get fully wet?”. Highly embarrassed, I whispered to her “Mom, he doesn’t have a scooter. It’s a bike! A motorbike!”. To which she responded with a “Arey, a bike is also a scooter only no!”. We’ve been arguing ever since. Please tell me a scooter and a motorbike are not the same!

– I have been craving for good pesto and guacamole. I decided to make it myself, but to my dismay, I couldn’t get fresh basil leaves and avocado anywhere! After checking with our local vendor, I decided to try D-Mart. I was told they usually stock it, but it was unavailable that day. I went on to check Godrej Nature’s Basket, but they didn’t have it either. Ever since, I have been on the constant look out for those ingredients. They are never in stock anywhere. Would anybody know where I can get basil leaves and avacado in the Western suburbs of Mumbai?

– When exactly did the physical structure of coins change in India? At one time I could easily differentiate between the coins. Re 1 was easy to spot. Rs 2 had a distinct shape. Rs 5 had a distinctive thickness. Ever since I moved back to India, all the coins look the same to me. I spend a few minutes sitting at the back of cabs and autos, reading the numbers carved on the coins before I hand out the change to the driver. It’s annoying and I just don’t seem to get used to the new designs.

– I was sipping my coffee while browsing through Facebook. I noticed Facebook recommending a ‘friend’ to me. It was my maid’s husband. I almost choked on my coffee. And please tell me, how the hell does FB know I know him? No, we have no common friends!


70 Responses to “A bowl of mixed thoughts”

  1. R said

    Spicy egg burji and buttered pav bring back some lovely memories from my Pune days 🙂
    As for your comment on the names and how Bollywood loves to interpret them, here’s my story – at my previous employer, a visiting senior official, who lived abroad and with whom I’d only interacted with on mails, came to meet me at my office (he was on holiday and had no reason to be coming to worK). I was surprised, cos office is far from where he was staying, plus he was carrying gifts (which, along with his extremely flirtatious behavior, I found strange and inappropriate and I refused). I was upset, cos nothing about my behavior had suggested that I was ever even vaguely interested in the man (or any other man at work). Which is when my boss told me that the creep had spoken to him in recent times and in conversations had repeatedly asked about my name! My boss was quite convinced that it was my name that led him to assume I’d be ‘easily available’!!!

  2. darkcomedy said

    You’ll get good fresh basil at both Nature’s Basket as well as at Hypercity, Malad. (You can also buy decent pesto and guacamole from the Waitrose section at Hypercity). For avocado, I know of only one place – Foodhall in Palladium, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel.

  3. shital said

    There is a vegetable vendor inside the Borivali Municipal market . He stocks only American vegetables (I use the word American because I came to know them only after I came to the states. They were not around when I was growing up)) . I have never looked for Avocado but he definitely stocks basil . He is the first vendor (or last depending on where you enter) on the right
    Ditto for the coins.
    FB friends oops

  4. Haa…exactly why I was so pissed off with the movie too. Of all things Veronica?? when will Indian Directors change? They think just by giving a Christian name people will accept the loose girl character!! I can’t stop myself from cursing that stupid movie.

    Ohh the joy of driving out late and eating from road side stalls…I miss Delhi 😥

    😆 maid’s husband??? Zukku Baba is going nuts me thinks…he has been suggesting crazy stuffs to me too. One of them being to LIKE a page about hooking up with bachelors in Bay Area 🙄

  5. Laughed Out Loud on that last thought !!

  6. R's Mom said

    – Wah! that girls night sounds super fun

    – Errr….when I read about Cocktail on a blog and read the names, thats the first thing that came to my mind too..why does the ‘loose girl’ have a Christian name and the ‘nice girl’ a Hindu name..weird na?

    – RD told me the same thing the other days..girls are usually allowed to proceed, while the guys keep getting caught and checked!

    – Errr..in R’s language scooter = motorbike…did your mom meet R ???

    – Usually Godrej has these ingredients..try Hypercity, they usually have ALL THE exotic stuff

    – dont talk about the coins, it just bugs me so so much 😦

    – Seriously!!!!!

    • Pepper said

      I love how you comment on each point!
      I think my mom and R come from the same world, where any and every two wheeler is a scooter 😀
      I should definitely try Hypercity.

  7. Amit said

    I hated Cocktail too. It was such a headache and a complete nonsense. I want my money back.!
    Once I searched for Recotta cheese for pasta and couldn’t find it. How I wish Indian stores keep such things.

  8. J said

    avocado and basil are both freely and abundantly available in pali market or any grocer in bandra. it costs about 75 bucks per avocado and you have to specify when you wanna use it, as in, ripe, unripe for use today, tmr.

    • Pepper said

      Wow, avocado is expensive! And Bandra is not exactly close to home. But since I go there so often, I could probably pick it up during one of my trips. Thanks a lot!

  9. vethal said

    May be he searched for u on facebook and facebook assumes u know people who search for u . btw if u didnt mind . I shared this line on FB and ppl cracked up thinking it happened with me 🙂

  10. Nidhi said

    this may have answers to ure queries re: basil, avacado etc..:- http://purplefoodie.com/baking-in-bombay/

  11. ashreyamom said

    wow.. so u gals enjoyed the night ride and food.. great..
    thanks for the review, i was thinking of watching the movie..
    nice na, so women drivers can drink and not be caught. gals use it it as a chance.. 🙂
    may be ur mom meant it as two wheeler by saying scooter.
    no idea about things available in mumbai.. 🙂
    yes, coins are so confusing now a days.. u iteraly have to see the numbers and then give it to vendors..
    facebook is amazing.. :).. long live facebook.. 🙂

  12. Your mom is so cute!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I cannot differentiate between the coins any more, too. 😦 And yes, Facebook does come up with such stuff every now and then. 🙂

    The names ‘Meera’ and ‘Veronica’ sound so stereotyped. Can’t believe the makers did that!! 😐

    A lot of women do drink and drive. Sad that the police also thinks that way!!

    You might find avocado and fresh basil at Spar Hypermarket, if you have one there. Best is, you can buy the avocado and keep a basil plant at home. That way you can always have fresh basil, whenever you want. That is what I do. 🙂 Alternatively, you could go to Italia – if you have it there – it has yummmmmylicious pesto. That, or Toscano.

    • Pepper said

      Oh, really? Keeping the plant at home is a great idea. Where will I get the basil plant from though? There are different kinds of basil. I know I will easily get the Tulsi (Which I didn’t know was basil too!), but the one used in cooking, where did you buy it from? Let me try finding out more. Thank you!

  13. Visha said

    Meal at 2:30? whoa

    scooter and motorbike…hmm..the latter one is more masculine..eh 😛

    If you are not too fussy about the exact taste, try substitutes for avacado?

    LOL…all ‘feel’ same, be it 1, 2 or 5…since an year or so this is the case..

    hehehee..maybe FB drew up the algorithm of showing up people who live nearby as recommendations… 😆

    • Pepper said

      I think certain things can only be made wtih avocado. Or maybe I am craving for the taste of avocado in guacamole. Btw, what are substitutes for avacado?
      Haha, right, we don’t live that close anyway 😀

  14. Ashwathy said

    2.30am meals!! Yay Mumbai! 😀

    Oh yea, I had a headache from just reading the reviews of the movie Cocktail. So much that I chose not to go see it at all. Plus Saif seriously looks too old for these roles, why can’t he just stick to what suits him?

    There’s another reason why cops don’t want to test their luck with a lone woman driving on the road. The whole thing can go against them …cops harassing a single woman driver, especially when no female cop is around. They’d also rather haggle around the male drivers whom they can rough up a bit (if at all they are drunk). Plus, worst case scenario, what if the woman is someone of someone and knows somebody Very Important?

    A scooter and a bike are not the same. Having said that, her question is valid. Both are two-wheelers and one is almost equally likely to get drenched, no matter which one is used. Unless the idea is to use a rain-coat.

    Nature’s Basket didn’t have that?? That’s a surprise. They generally have such stuff in stock.

    Ever since I moved back to India, all the coins look the same to me.
    I’ve been in India almost all along and I still have trouble differentiating between coins 😛 Makes my auto/taxi wait an extra 5 mins to get my coins sorted.

    WTF to your last sentence!!! 😯 I don’t know whether to laugh or go *facepalm*!!! 😛

    • Pepper said

      Not going for the movie was a smart thing. I wasn’t keen either, but I got dragged by the friends.

      But, but, I wasn’t a single woman driver either of the times. The first time we were heading home after a late dinner in Bandra. I had Mint by my side (one rare weekend when he come to Bombay) and the sister sitting at the back. The second time, we were driving back from the airport after meeting somebody who had just landed from Germany. It was mom, dad, sis and me in the car. They could have easily asked me to stop and go through the test.

      Like I said, the coins have been troubling everybody.

      I didn’t know what to make of the FB thing either. I just laughed after an ‘OH MY GOD’ moment. Lol.

  15. vethal said

    Thus guy is looking at your profile a lot looks like. that is what I can think of. better keep safe photos and videos etc and status updates.

  16. Wheeee! slumber party sounds so great! egg bhurji – yummy yum yum! I have been reading posts on FB where my girlfriends write “don’t know why but felt offended after cocktail” – Now, I don’t know if I must watch it and contribute towards the revenue for a wrong potrayal or watch it and decide it for myself. Maybe I will settle for piracy. 😛
    Your mom is so cute Pepper 🙂 hehehehehe and also am bigtime laughing at the fb suggestion – its eerie. and I have no idea.
    And oh! and oh ! Pesto and guacamole sounds ooooooooo ! I don’t know much about Mumbai – sowwiee!
    Ditto on the feelings towards coins – I actually have a few of each type (the older versions) and it is so therapeutic to just look at those big 2 rupee coins that later became smaller and all the other changes 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Oh, your friends don’t know why they felt offended? I think I know quite clearly why I find it offensive. Settling for piracy sounds good 😛
      I love the old coins too! 🙂

  17. ajay said

    The change is coins is really annoying. 10-rupee coins looks so weird, as if they were fake! Facebook does weird things. Maybe it keeps a pool of ip addresses that belong to one region. Seems like they want everyone to connect with everyone on Facebook!

  18. Anu said

    Hi Pepper:

    As always enjoyed your post. BTW, I have a question. My mom is visiting me in the US and she loves Pesto. She is planning on taking it back to India / or looking for it over there. Do you get pesto sauce in India? If so, then what is the brand? Or else, if you still get the imported brands, what brand and in which store.

    I don’t mean to be a pain, but my mom really loves the stuff.



    • Pepper said

      I am not too sure. Which part of India would your mom be returning to? I am guessing it should be available in most big cities. In Bombay, I am told it is available in Hypercity. Since I haven’t tried it, I won’t comment on the quality and taste :). If she wants to be safe, maybe she can carry some of it and then keep looking after she comes back?

      I will definitely get back to you if I come across any good brand here!

  19. the last one stunned me- gee FB is Omnipotent 😛

  20. Aruna said

    Totally get the ‘Veronica’ part…such typical stereotyping! BTW did the hero eventually settle for Meera?

  21. Smita said

    1st thing 1st, have heard about Bandra Veg market where all such veggies are available. Never seen it myself as I live in Navi Mumbai but have read a lot about it.

    LOL @ Maids husband in FB, dunno what to say *laughs*

    You know for my MIL all auto’s are taxi’s? Hvae stopped correcting her now!! 😀

    That gender stereotyping can be very harmful and there are quite a few accidents for example.

    And u girls surely had fun 😀

    • Pepper said

      Bandra is a very ‘happening’ place 😀 They’d definitely stock all that. If only I organise myself and remember to pick it up when I am there.
      Autos are taxis for your MIL? Lol!! I am hearing this for the first time 😀

  22. Tanishka said

    lol at maid’s husband being recommended as friend…. You really saved the best for the last… 😀

  23. Sharell said

    For basil leaves, try the Organic Garden: http://organicgarden.co.in/locator.aspx

    I go to the Powai branch and they have fresh organic basil leaves. The other branches should also stock them. Otherwise, you can order them and get them delivered. (Now, please make me some fresh basil pesto in return)!! 😉

    In regards to the coins in India, I also share your frustrations! I’m constantly confused by them. I just wish there was a consistent size… it seems that the 2 rupee comes in a range of sizes. I can never tell what is one or two rupee coins without extensive scrutiny!

    • Pepper said

      Oh thanks so much! Ordering them is a convenient option. Let me check if they are available in my area first.
      If I make the pesto, I’ll save some for you 😀
      Hah! Like I said, the new coins are hard to distinguish. Most of us seem to think so.

  24. pixie said

    – the slumber party sounds like such serious fun!! I miss those days and my partner-in-crime Hazel! 😀
    – spicy egg burji with buttered pav sound delicious!!
    – I know!! When I heard the full story, it pissed me off as well! The names, and how the guy (oldie here!) gets the “good girl”!! gah! The message it conveys is pretty sad as well 😐
    – yea, there are both sides of the coin in our country when it comes to discrimination! What you faced seems prettty normal! I have never been stopped on my 2-wheeler when returning home late in the night either from work or a party in Bangalore either! Just once, one police officer told me to reach home quickly because it was going to rain!!
    – Errm, sweetie – scooter and a motor bike ARE different! But, I have no clue how you could explain it to your mom
    – I have good fresh basil and avocado at home! Does that help?! no?! :mrgreen:
    – And yea, coin shapes and sizes have changed quite a bit in the recent past making them quite hard to distinguish!! 😀

    • Pepper said

      I was reading your comment and agreeing all along and smiling to myself, until I reached the part where I read you have fresh basil and avocado at home. Did you have to say that to me? Hmph!

  25. metherebel said

    – Girls night out must have been so much fun!

    – I haven’t watched ‘Cocktail’. I don’t think I would want to watch it either. The girls names were the first thing that came to my mind when I watched the promos to the movie. And I think Saif looks old for the role.

    – The “Indianness” in people here makes them think womes don’t drink and drive.

    – Scooter and bike were the same for me when I was a kid.

    – I have no idea. I have never been to Mumbai.

    – 1 rupee and 2 rupees coins are hard to distinguish these days. All the time I will have to turn around the coins and read the number.

    – LOL @ Facebook recommending friend!

  26. You too like pesto, good to hear that!!

    Police in India are yet to wake up to reality of drunk women drivers, hope they do soon before anyone gets a bad hit

  27. May I ask why NO ONE ever even demurred when in Deepa Mehta’s FIRE the two women (lesbians) were named RADHA and SEETA two of the MOST REVERED and loved names in our same India?

  28. Taa's mom said

    ask Dad to plant tulsi for you 😉

  29. Taa's mom said

    Bandra’s organic garden on 24th Road sells basil leaves.

  30. Kartikay said

    My maid back at home checks her Facebook from her phone. It’s an amazing era we’re living in, it really is!

    P.S.: I heard there’s a Foodhall in Mumbai as well (there’s one in Bangalore). They should have basil leaves!

  31. Jack Point said

    “I almost choked on my coffee. And please tell me, how the hell does FB know I know him? No, we have no common friends! ”

    Facebook is beginning to get a bit creepy now. Lets hope it does not fall into the hands of a power mad dictator.

    Wait a minute! perhaps it ALREADY in sinister hands…..


  32. Jack Point said

    “The moment I reached the checkpoint, the cop took one look at me and let me go without conducting the test on me.”

    Shhhs Its the same in Sri Lanka, but don’t say it out loud.

    Its useful at times when the ‘designated driver’ forgot and is as drunk as the rest….

    Some of the women who were driving were also high..but the police never even look.

  33. Rasika said

    hahah hilarious incident. I hated Cocktail too.

  34. // I noticed Facebook recommending a ‘friend’ to me. It was my maid’s husband. I almost choked on my coffee. And please tell me, how the hell does FB know I know him? No, we have no common friends!

    This was the most hilarious thing I have ever read in my entire life 😀 I simply burst out laughing!

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